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Secretary's Message

October 9, 2019

Department of Juvenile Justice’s Weekly Letter

Welcome to our weekly letter, with the latest on what’s going on and what the team is doing across the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. I hope you will take a moment to read about the ways our DJJ staff, providers, and partners are working to improve the lives of Florida’s youth and families and how we are working to make our communities even better.

Please keep sharing your great work, successes, and accomplishments both on and off the clock in serving the youth, families, and communities touched by DJJ. Your stories inspire us all to do more. So, send your good news to news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon.


Secretary Simone Marstiller


Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation Receives Donation from Walmart

DJJ and Walmart representatives holding checkThe Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF), the direct support organization for DJJ, recently received a generous $10,000 donation from Walmart. FJJF serves to change the lives of students, the lives of their parents, and the lives of the citizens in our community by promoting delinquency prevention, intervention, and educational opportunities for youth. The check was presented to Secretary Simone Marstiller and FJJF Executive Director Caroline Ray by Walmart’s Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations and FJJF Board Member Monesia Brown.

Staff Announcements and Kudos

Facility Training Coordinator Corporal Angela Harris and Major Adrian MathenaCongratulations to Facility Training Coordinator (FTC) Angela Harris with the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) for being named the Orange RJDC Employee of the Quarter. FTC Harris has revamped the entire training area at Orange RJDC and also oversees the training of new staff and tracks training for all staffed positions. FTC Harris is responsible for setting the cultural tone of excellence and toughness required at Orange RJDC and ensures that the trainees arrive on the floor “Orange Tough” and ready to go. 











Mamine Saintil, Welton Sanders and Anthony Butler of PBRJDC

Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center (PBRJDC) recently recognized the leadership of “The Fantastic Three.” First, Major Mamine Saintil, who began working at the facility in 2013, takes pride in leading her captains and maintaining their focus on leadership, facility thinking, organizational structure and ethics. Next, Captain Welton Sanders, who joined the detention center in 2017 and has constantly gone above and beyond in his journey to be an example of a leader as well as an administrator. Finally, Captain Anthony Butler, who transitioned to become one of the center’s assistant superintendents in August 2018  and has demonstrated both leadership and dedication to his administration.

Major Saintil stated her captains have taken the initiative in constantly learning all aspects of Detention Services, and they have received recognition by local judges, stakeholders, community advisors, and probation administration for their exemplary professionalism. Their interactions with co-workers, youth, parents, and the community continue to exceed expectations. The ability to work well within a team, have a good work ethic, and to take pride in their duties, are just a few reasons why the "Fantastic Three" are well deserving of recognition.


collier officersCollier Regional Juvenile Detention Center would like to recognize several officers for their hard work and dedication to DJJ. The following staff are being acknowledged for perfect attendance in August: Corporal Jalesa Carzell, Officer Anyessa Franklin, Officer Bernard Alcime, Officer David Coronado, Corporal Pauleen Arrera, Corporal Nicodemus Bailey, Corporal Bonia Baptiste, Sergeant Vikingson Dalien, Sergeant  William Devault, Lieutenant Michael Mohr, Corporal Regina Jean-Francois, Officer Chad Harvey, Corporal Michael Noonan, and Corporal Gabriela Albu





Congratulations to Jeremiah M. Jones, Sr., who was recently recognized as Circuit 8 Probation’s Employee of the Quarter. Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Jones has made outstanding contributions to the Circuit 8 Probation Team during this last quarter. JPO Jones has consistently added to his experience over time with his years of service in Probation & Community Intervention Services. He has a special concern for youth and families who have trouble meeting their basic needs for food and clothing. He has always been a “behind the scenes” team player for families, DJJ and the courts. 

In addition, JPO Jones was recently given an assignment that required assisting in another county.  He has transitioned very well with this assignment and is now providing field supervision to one of our newest team members. The aforementioned are just a few of the highlights of JPO Jones’ qualities and achievements.

Circuit 8 also recognized JPO Jones and his Probation teammates with the “Thumbs-Up Award,” for their incredible teamwork during the last  six months.


JPO awards winners
Pictured above (from left to right): Jeremiah Jones, JPO, Sandi Brannan ACPO, Jessica Pena, JPO, Felicia Rogers, SJPO, Loni Gibson, JPO, Belinda Frank, JPO, Shelby Pini, JPO, Andi Douglas, JPO & Chris Massey, CPO

Florida is Now Hands-Free in School and Work Zones

Put It Down Law Notice

The Wireless Communications While Driving Law went into effect July 1, 2019, allowing law enforcement to stop a vehicle and cite a driver for texting and driving. As of October 1, wireless communications devices can only be used in a hands-free manner when driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. When you put your phone down and focus on driving, you are helping to improve roadway safety for everyone, prevent crashes related to distracted driving, and reduce injuries and deaths due to motor vehicle crashes by being aware of your surroundings.

Drivers may be issued warnings through December 31, 2019, but starting January 1, 2019, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in a work zone or school zone. The first offense for the Wireless Communications While Driving Law is a non-moving traffic violation, with a base $30 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and no points. The second and subsequent offenses within five years are moving traffic violations, with a base $60 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and 3 points assessed against the driver license.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), with the Florida Department of Transportation and other law enforcement partners, has implemented the statewide Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to raise awareness of and encourage compliance with the new law. Join the FLHSMV and its partners, counties, local law enforcement agencies, safety councils, public schools and other entities statewide, as we spread the message about the new law. Visit flhsmv.gov/FocusOnDriving for resources and follow the campaign on social media with the hashtags #PutItDown and #FocusonDrivingFL.

DJJ Staff Provide Hurricane Resources in Bay County

Deputy Manager Marcus Smith; Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier; Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims; and Bay Sheriff Tommy Ford.DJJ staff recently sponsored a Community Outreach Resources Education (CORE) event at Glenwood Community Center in Panama City.

To inform and educate residents of Bay County still recovering from last year’s devastation left after Hurricane Michael, DJJ sponsored the event to provide Bay residents with a host of resources to assist them.

From housing support, financial assistance, health information, faith-based services, law enforcement resources, social service agencies that provide for the health and welfare of children and families, there were ample resources for all attendees. Close to 40 vendors and nearly 200 people attended the CORE Event.

Among those in attendance were: Bay Sheriff Tommy Ford; William T. Dozier, Bay County Board of County Commissioners, and representatives from the Bay District Schools.  

Those delivering remarks included: Michael Johnson, Circuit 14 Advisory Board Chair; Pastor David Woods, Circuit 14 Faith Representative; Joseph Davis, executive director, Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs; Major Rhonda Hartwell with DJJ Detention Services; Fred Womack, Circuit 14 Chief Probation Officer and Marcus Smith, Office of Prevention Services.

DJJ also recognized youth and families for overcoming challenges. One hundred book bags full of school supplies were donated to detention youth. Entertainment was provided by the JUDOS Praise and Step Team.

When the program ended, youth and families were offered the opportunity to take home free clothes, shoes, sweaters, coats, comforters and other bedding materials. 

shanteria randall visiting boystownDelinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 9, 18, and 19 Shanteria Randall recently conducted a site visit at Boys Town - Oviedo, a DJJ Prevention program.

During her site visit, Shanteria met with Chief Executive Director Gregory Zbylut and Senior Director Telma Favors to discuss the structure of the program and the services offered to the youth.

Shanteria was intrigued by the family home living style and was able to visit inside of the McGriff’s Family Home. At Boys Town, youth receive treatment from married couples, called Family - Teachers.

Through life-changing programing, Boys Town provides compassionate, effective care and treatment to the youth, whether they’re living in the family style home or the shelter. Their mission is to promote an integrated continuum of care that instills values to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. 

Boys Town Central Florida opened in 1986 in Oviedo. The site also works with the state of Florida to combat child abuse and neglect through one short-term Intervention and Assessment center.



Residential Program Youth Visit College Campuses

broward youth attending campus visitsRecently at Broward Youth Treatment Center, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, the youth were able to attend campus visits to the famed Florida International University and the University of Miami. All the youth participating in the tours had to have either graduated high school or have excelled in the classroom with 3.0 GPAs or higher. The youth were able to tour the campus and see life from the perspective of a college student. They also had all their questions answered by amazing tour guides who were able to relate to the youth since they themselves were only a year or two removed from high school. It was a great eye-opening experience and the youth who attended have all committed to pursuing higher education once they leave the program. Broward Youth Treatment Center is very proud of all the youth and expects to see great things from them in the future!

equine program youthYouth from the equine program at Center for Success and Independence - Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, assisted Dr. Lieb of Pennock Point Horses with the KWPN horse inspections that were held at her farm this year. The KWPN is a Netherlands-based organization specializing in the breeding of jumpers, dressage horses, harness horses, and Gelder horses. In 1983, the KWPN-North America (NA) was established in order to promote breeding and enjoyment of the KWPN horse in North America.

Every August and September, the KWPN-NA organizes and holds its inspections throughout the U.S. and Canada. Young and mature horses are evaluated by a judging committee led by a KWPN inspector. The jury looks at foals, yearlings and two-year-olds for premium grading, as well as horses three and older for acceptance into the studbook. In addition to the riding type horses, Gelder’s and harness horses are also judged.

The youth in the equine program really rose to the challenge of helping with the inspections. They were quick and professional with their assistance in setting up of arena and jump shoot for the horse’s inspections. They also dismantled the area so quickly that the show ran ahead of schedule. After the jumping phase was over, the youth worked at the area gate, safely controlling the flow of equine traffic in and out of the area.

While at the show, the youth were exposed to the international process of selecting future breeding and high-level sport horses. The show judges for the clinic were from Holland and provided a very educational clinic regarding the attributes each horse possessed and how each attribute contributed to the score that the horse earned.


crestview talent show judgesThe youth at Crestview Youth Academy, both a secure and non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, recently hosted their own talent show. All the staff were surprised at just how talented the youth were. They had over six participants pour their hearts out in front of their peers through poetry, song, rap, as well as art. Crestview is proud of each of the youth who had the courage to showcase their talents. First, second and third place winners were chosen by a panel of judges made up of the program’s clinical team.  









youth graduate with diplomaOrange Youth Academy and Orlando Intensive Youth Academy, both non-secure programs for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, celebrated the success of one of their youth for receiving his GED. At the graduation ceremony, the youth walked down the hallway of the administration building in a cap and gown. The program’s lead teacher assisted this awesome youth in obtaining his GED and both staff and teachers from Orange County Public Schools showed up to celebrate and highlight his accomplishments. He was overjoyed and excited to share this great achievement in his life. He thanked all his teachers and the staff for helping him succeed.









amikids youth with horseYouth from AMIkids Volusia recently began an eight-week equine therapy program with Hope Reins, Inc. The program, hosted by a local ranch, provides the youth with a holistic and therapeutic experience with the horses and their care.





ami youth fishingSeveral youth from AMIkids Clay County recently participated in a three-day marine education program that AMIkids Inc. offers all of its students. The program includes an introduction to SCUBA, the Tampa Bay Fishing Experience/Marine Navigation, and a Floating Classroom trip with marine biologists from Mote Marine Laboratories & Aquarium.











eckerd employment advisory councilEckerd Connects Project Bridge in Circuits 6 and 13 have initiated an employment advisory council to connect with local organizations who are willing to partner with the workforce team as they work to prepare youth for the career force.

Work readiness skills and employment are vital in the lives of young people as Eckerd works to steer them away from decisions that place them in at-risk categories. Having the skills to gain employment and the opportunity to become self-sufficient with a job, is often times the key stepping stone in youth moving toward a successful future.

Representatives from Mayor Jane Castor’s Workforce Development Initiative Planning Committee, Expressedly Creative, and the Home Builder’s Institute gathered for the first employment advisory council meeting and Eckerd plans on inviting additional organizations to get involved as well.

senator Branyon with youthAMIkids programs in Florida recently received visits from local and state officials.  State Senator Oscar Branyon  (shown left) recently visited with the youth at AMIkids Miami Dade North. He toured the program and gave the youth some great advice on life and achieving their goals!

Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch also recently visited with the kids at AMIkids Pinellas. He enjoyed the student-led tour and supports the mission to provide educational support and invaluable opportunities to succeed in life.

commissioner welch with youth









AMIkids youth at Embraer AerospaceYouth from AMIkids Greater Ft. Lauderdale had the opportunity to spend the day with volunteers from Embraer Aerospace. The volunteers spent time with the kids at their school and then went to the Embraer campus for a tour and presentations regarding employment in the aviation industry. This partnership is part of a larger effort by the school to introduce the youth to a number of higher compensation employment opportunities once they complete their education.




Detention Staff Attend the First Registered Behavior Technician Class

Last week, 19 Detention Services staff members from across the state attended the first ever Detention Services Registered Behavior Technician class. The class was led by Adapt and Transform Behavior, LLC and was graciously hosted by Major Reginald Allen at the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Clearwater.

A Registered Behavior TechnicianTM (RBT®) is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, ongoing supervision of a board certified behavior analyst or assistant behavior analyst. The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services. The detention staff completed 40 hours of training, passed the RBT Competency Assessment, and now have the knowledge to pass the RBT examination. Once they pass the exam, they will obtain the credential of RBT by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. RBTs in Detention Services will be in charge of the Behavior Management System at their centers, which facilitates positive change in the lives of the youth Detention serves.

Pictured above (from left to right): 1st row L-R: Tamara Johnson Pinellas RJDC, Gene Wilson Southwest RJDC, Michael Noonan Collier RJDC, Jalesa Carzell Collier RJDC.

Pictured above (from left to right): 1st row L-R: Tamara Johnson Pinellas RJDC, Gene Wilson Southwest RJDC, Michael Noonan Collier RJDC, Jalesa Carzell Collier RJDC.

2nd row: Kevin Nicholson Pinellas RJDC, Deborah Puscas Pasco RJDC, Johnny Thompson Marion RJDC, Gena Clark Pinellas RJDC, Joyce Legrande Orange RJDC, Samantha Fuesy, BCBA, ATBx, Emily Kiefer, BCBA, ATBx.

3rd row: Bradley Taylor Pinellas RJDC, Chad Harvey Collier RJDC, Ernest Kelly Southwest RJDC, Sonya Brooks Pinellas RJDC, Mynor Chacon Pasco RJDC, Molly Stewart Marion RJDC, Shakeena Hartsfield Hillsborough RJDC, Ariel Veguilla Detention HQ Behavioral Specialist, Catherine Kent Southwest RJDC, and Luis Rodriguez Orange RJDC. 

youth and buccaneers players participating in gamesRecently, players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted an incredible event with the young people at Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center. Last week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers player D’Cota Dixon returned to the detention center to follow up with the youth he spoke to during the Buccaneers event. He had the chance to participate in the students of the week incentive. He played board games, shared his story, and spoke one-on-one with a few youth during his visit. The kids were pleasantly surprised to see him back and enjoyed his follow up visit!